Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all others associated with the television series of the same name are owned by Studios USA. This is a work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Subtext: I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it maintext. Yes, they are in love with each other.
Other: 7.02.01 Spoilers for FIN parts 1 & 2 and other episodes.
A Bards Work is Never Done
Gabrielle varied between biting her bottom lip and sipping her wine. She watched intently as Xena read the newest scroll that she had written. The bard turned warrior, had mixed feeling about the fact that her friend now read her scrolls. Part of her was delighted, it had taken a lot to get Xena to read the scrolls, including but not limited to, being nailed to a Roman cross. Another part of her was not so thrilled. Since Xena had started reading them, she had also decided to be the bards harshest critic. And there were some things that she just didnt want to be criticized for.
The warriors brows came together as she read the last part of the story. Even as she continued to read, she reached out for her own cup of wine, nearly knocking it over. Gabrielle was quick to grab the cup and place it in Xenas hand. "Thanks." The warrior muttered without looking away from the parchment.
Gabrielle watched with a great deal of trepidation as Xena began drumming her fingers on the side of her cup. How long did it take to read one story anyhow? The bard shifted in her chair, picked through the remnants of her dinner, shifted in her chair some more, looked around the empty dinning room of the tavern, shifted just a bit more, then she snapped. "Oh for Gods sake, Xena! Do you like it or not?" Realizing she had just lost what little control she had, Gabrielle settled back in her chair, hiding behind her wine cup.
Xena looked up and shook her head just slightly. "Umm well Gabrielle," she paused, taking a sip of her wine. "Its interesting."
"Interesting good or interesting bad?" She asked, lowering her cup.
The warrior looked across the table, trying to find the right words. "Its not bad. Its a very good story. Lots of action." She absently ran her hands over the parchment, smoothing it out. "Nice fights umm "
Xena shifted in her chair. "Well, Im a little curious about the ending. I
mean youve never killed me off in one of your stories before. Are you trying to tell
"Gods, no Xena!" She reached across the table and took the warriors hand. "I just thought Id try something different. I thought a little tragedy might be entertaining."
"Oh." She said quietly, nodding. "But did you have to cut my head off?"
"Yeah, I think so. I mean I dont mind the part where I take on all the soldiers single handed." She smiled at her lover. "Thats kind of neat actually, but I mean come on Gabrielle, being defeated and getting my head lopped off. Thats a little umm "
"Very." Xena craned her neck. "Im very fond of my head right where it is, thanks." She took another sip of wine then added with a leer. "Theres only one other place I prefer it."
The bard blushed immediately, covering her eyes and trying to hide the smile behind her hand. "Xena!"
"Well, its the truth." The warrior shoved the parchment across the table. "But its your story and if you like it this way, then who am I to argue?"
"Just the main character."
"Do I get creative input then?"
"Id be open to suggestions." The blonde nodded, now looking down at her scroll.
Xena leaned forward, resting her arms on the table, rolling her wine cup between her hands. "Okay first off then, dont you think the story would be better off if it were set here in Greece? Ive never even been to Japa. People are more likely to believe that I slaughtered an entire Greek city, but I doubt theyre going to buy the Japa angle."
The bard removed her quill from the specially crafted wooden case Xena had given her on their anniversary. She removed a small vial of ink and began making notes on the parchment. "Location change." She mumbled as she wrote. "Gotcha." She looked up to Xena. "What else?"
"Ditch the chick from Japa. I swore off Asian women."
Gabrielle looked up, narrowing her eyes at her lover. She wanted to ask her what she meant but decided to leave it alone. She scribbled on her paper again. "Character change. Okay."
"And youve got to drop Borias." Xena shivered in disgust. "Thats just plain yuck."
"Scratch Borias. Right." She bit her lip, looking down at the scroll. "Xena, if I cut all this stuff what am I left with?"
"Youve still got the part where we save the village."
"But now its a Greek village?"
"Right." The warrior picked up a piece of bread and cheese and popped it in her mouth. "And youve got the really neat fight scenes."
"Okay." She sighed, but nodded her agreement. "What about Yodoshi?"
"Yeah," She scratched her neck. "Hes kinda silly dont you think? I mean, busting through rice paper doors doesnt make for a great villain. Although I did like that bit where we both turned into balls of fire and set the trees aflame."
"Terrific. Im happy for you." Gabrielle was beginning to think that giving Xena creative input was a huge mistake. "Then who makes for a great villain?"
"Oh I dont know," Xena looked to the rafters of the room. "Ares maybe?"
"Ares?!" Gabrielle snapped the tip of her quill from pushing it so hard against the table. "Just furkin great!" She grumbled, reaching into her satchel for the small knife she used to sharpen her writing instrument. "What makes Ares so damn great? In my opinion hes way over used."
"Well, at least hes a known enemy." The warrior shrugged, sipping her wine. "Seems that if Im going to have my last battle you should at least give Ares the pleasure of doing me in." She poured a little more wine for herself then refilled the bards cup as well. "If you dont mind my asking, why did you make me come back to you as a ghost?"
"Because you promised me youd never leave me." Gabrielle offered, as she looked her soulmate in the eyes. "And I believe in my heart that you wouldnt."
Xena smiled, running her thumb over the back of the bards hand. "Thank you for believing in me."
"Its my pleasure."
"Can I make one little tiny comment?"
The bard groaned, dropping her head. "Sure why not."
"It makes you sound a little crazy."
"Un-huh. Crazy." The warrior made a little circling motion at the side of her head. "You know, like nuts. Youve got yourself standing on a ship, talking to yourself. Somebody is bound to think youre whacko. A lot like Najara. Next thing I know, youll be calling me Djinn and starting some kind of lunatic religious cult."
Gabrielle lifted the parchment and waved it at the warrior. "Fiction, remember? Im not now, nor have I ever been crazy." She replaced the parchment on the table and mumbled. "Unless you keep it up."
"Nothing." She made a few more notes. "Anything else?" She put her quill down with exaggerated slowness.
"I could tell you about the parts I liked."
"You mean there was something else besides the fights you liked?" She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back in her chair.
"The kiss was nice."
"When you gave me the water."
"Where do you get that I kissed you? I was trying to give you water for crimeny sake."
Xena winked. "It was a kiss."
"How much wine have you had?"
"Not that much." The warrior rested her cheek on her hand as she leaned over the table once again. "Are you saying you wouldnt kiss me under those circumstance?"
"Of course I would, but "
"It was a kiss." Xena said smugly as she leaned back.
"What else did you like?"
"I like the bit where I taught you the pinch and told you if I only had thirty seconds to live." She smiled at her companion. "Thats true you know? If I did only have thirty seconds to live, Id most definitely want to look into your eyes. I want you to be the last thing I see."
"Yeah, well, when youre old and gray and laying in a big old bed somewhere well discuss it, until then Id rather not think about it."
"Id rather not think about it either." Xena grinned. "I have other things Id much rather spent my time thinking about."
"That new nightgown you bought in Athens." The warrior wiggled her brows and gave a little growl. "Very sexy little number."
"I have many skills." The warrior winked. "Gabrielle, do you want me to teach you the pinch? Is that why you wrote it in your story?"
"Well," The bard had been caught red-handed and no she was embarrassed. She ran her finger over the rough wood of the table. "I just think that weve been together long enough that "
Gabrielles head snapped up. "What!?"
"I said okay. Ill teach you the pinch." She drained her cup in one swallow then refilled her cup.
"Wow." Gabrielles amazement was not well hidden. "I didnt think you were ever going to teach me."
"If I teach you all my skills, you wont need me anymore." Xena gave a sad little smile.
The bard got up and moved next to the warrior. She placed her hands on Xenas face, forcing her to look at her. "Is that what you think?"
Xena sort of shrugged and tried to look away from the green eyes that held her very soul.
"Oh Xena, thats totally ridiculous. I love you. Ill always need you."
The Warrior smiled and leaned over giving the bard a tender little kiss. "That goes both ways Gabrielle. I love you." She leaned back, regarding her love. "I think Ive always loved you."
The blonde smiled, her eyes sparkled in the light of the candles on their table. "Always?"
"And here I thought I annoyed you when we first met."
"You did, but you know what? I fell in love with that annoying little runaway from Potadeiea and Ive been blessed to watch her grown into a beautiful, intelligent woman. Youve become so much. While all of the changes I went through werent really good ones until I met you, every single change Ive seen in you has been good. Theyve made you the remarkable self-assured woman I see now. The sexy, playful woman Im proud is my love. And the dedicated being that makes up the other half of my soul."
Gabrielle caught the tear in her eye and wiped it away before it could fall. She shook her head as she looked at Xena. "When did you get so good with words?"
"Hey, who says Im the only one who taught anything. There are certain advantages to loving a bard." She chuckled, tapping the table with her fingers. "I know lots of big words now." She teased just a little more.
Gabrielle leaned over and whispered in the Warriors ear. Then she looked at Xena. "Know the meaning of those words?"
Xena cleared her throat and nodded furiously. "Oh yeah." She groaned. "But I think we should go back to the inn. We could get arrested if we tried that here."
"Okay then," Gabrielle moved back to her side of the table and put her things away. She picked up the scroll and looked to Xena. "Lets go."
Xena was on her feet and gesturing to the door. "After you my dear."
The bard moved over to the fireplace and pitched the scroll in before returning to the door.
Xenas brows shot up. "What did you do that for?"
"I decided I didnt care for it much. I think Ill try something else. Maybe a romance." She winked at Xena before walking out the door.
"Do I get any creative input on that?" Xena called, even as she followed the bard out the door.
"Oh yeah." Gabrielles groan floated back making Xenas grin widen.
The warrior shook her head. "Most definitely advantages to loving a bard." She mumbled before jogging to catch up to her companion.
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